Lady Dolphins Stumble In First Round Playoff Defeat
Last Wednesday began as a positive for Dominic Stanco. The Beach Channel coach had the number 4 PSAL B playoff team ready to host their first round game against #13 Baruch College.
But as the 4:30 p.m. gametime grew near, Stanco looked at his roster on the sidelines. He was disappointed to find out his leading goalscorer, Gerlisa Hills, was missing from the bench.
That would turn out to be the beginning of a series of frustrating moments in the next few hours that would end Beach Channel's season on a down note.
Baruch College pulled off the upset as the visitors won 3-2 in a penalty shootout to advance to the second round of the playoffs against #5 Richmond Hill.
The Lady Dolphins' subpar day on the field ended in the penalty shootout. Baruch College went up 3-2 as Samantha Viotty's right-foot kick sailed to the left corner past Dolphins goalkeeper Cynthia Campos.
In Beach Channel's final attempt, Diane Martinez' kick hit the left post and bounced away from the net as Baruch celebrated.
"They played hard and they played with heart but they did not play well," Stanco said.
The Lady Dolphins would have faced the Lions in the next round on Monday at John Adams High School if they had won. But now they will be thinking of what might have been, and it starts with Hills' pre-game disappearance.
Beach Channel's top forward had scored three goals in a May 18 game, which Beach Channel had won 4-1 over Far Rockaway to clinch a tie of the Queens B VI Division.
Without explanation, to Stanco or her teammates, Hills, who was named the team captain, did not show up to the game. She did do something similar last year according to Stanco.
Hills, then starting as the team's goalkeeper, left during halftime of a game against Far Rockaway. She did not return to the team for the rest of the year as they advanced to the PSAL B quarterfinals.
Even though Beach Channel had to make a number of positional switches, it seemed to work for the first half.
Midfielder Jasmine Corona scored on a direct free kick from 30 yards away in the 36th minute to put the Dolphins up 2-1.
But the Dolphins defense continued to play sloppy in the second half and an unfortunate error proved costly.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Campos dropped a 40-yard free kick from Baruch forward Johanne Enama and the ball slipped from her hands and traveled into the back of the net to tie the game.
Beach Channel had numerous chances to take the lead late in the second half but could not capitalize.
The Lady Dolphins had an expectation to advance further in the playoffs. Not only was it the final game of their season, but it was also the last contest for their coach.
Due to the PSAL moving the girls soccer season from the spring to this fall Stanco will have to give up the job leading the Lady Dolphins.
"My chapter has been written with girls soccer. We won the division and we accomplished our goal to win the division," Stanco said.
Stanco will continue to lead the boys program as he's done for the last four years. He's enjoyed his time leading the girls, but wishes it didn't end so soon.
"Our second goal was to meet up with Flushing and be playing our best," Stanco said of possibly facing the undefeated #1 seed Red Devils in the PSAL quarterfinals.
"But today, we were at our absolute worst."